This week, I had a very important appointment with a fourth grader. We planned an art project.
I wish I would have taken photos along the way, but it's probably self-explanatory enough:
An old canvas - which I had started a painting on four years or so ago, and never finished.
Dark acrylic paint to cover the old painting up (gesso would have worked, too)
Paper punches (and Vellum...because a lot of paper punches don't work on tissue paper, but they'll work with tissue paper and a layer of vellum)
Nice, smooth brushes.The cheapy kind doesn't work as well for decoupage.
Mod Podge. I used Matte. Gloss would work, too, but Matte is glossy enough, I think. A friend used Brushstroke Matte Mod Podge the next day for a similar project, and was disappointed.
1. After waiting for the cover layer of navy blue acrylic to dry, we attempted to punch out shapes. My original idea was overlapping circles, but paper punching tissue paper proved to be too daunting a task. We did discover that a layer of vellum in the punch, along with the tissue paper, had a nicer result, but it was more fun to cut squares and triangles.
2. Place the tissue paper where you want it to land, and paint the Mod Podge on TOP of the tissue paper, from the center out. It will soak through to the point where it blends in flat with the canvas. When the fourth grader discovered this, it was like MAGIC before her eyes.
3. Overlap frequently...with a variety of colors or the same color.
4. YOU CANNOT DO THIS WRONG. If the paper twists or bends, you can either throw it out or run with it and allow your project to have texture. I told the fourth grader that she was the Art Director on this project and all creative decisions were hers. So, she used a gold marker to accent some of the pieces - for example, adding facets to a shape that looked "like a ruby". You can do whatever you want!
5. Wait patiently for the project to dry. When I returned to work the next day and noticed that we'd left some spaces open to the navy blue canvas, I knew that I could go over it again with some more tissue paper and Mod Podge another time.
I hung it in my office, which may not be its permanent home. This is probably the simplest, most relaxing, therapeutic project I know. Some adults helped, too...and were mesmerized. Also, there are so many possiblities and variations - I recommend this as a lazy day summer project for anyone.
Warning: Once you begin, it's difficult to stop!